Naruto-style Shinobi for B/X

“Naruto” is an anime about ninjas who are actually powerful magic users; they spend more time casting epic, flashy spells than skulking around. My son is having a good time playing a fighter and halfing in our Labyrinth Lord/Old-School Essentials campaign, and has been begging to play a shinobi. So I wrote up this class for our game. My campaign setting doesn’t do fantasy counterpart cultures, so they’ll be reskinned a bit for actual play. Mechanically it’s similar to a 2E AD&D bard, or a dual-class thief/magic-user. Interestingly the spells are are surprisingly compatible already: there are six levels of jutsu that compare surprisingly well in power to existing spells like fire ball and mirror image. Lots of them are based on East Asian legends like fenshen or bunshin (translated here as teleprojection) as well on stuff that looks cool on screen. Of course the spells below are written just to play well in the game and give the general feel of ninja powers.

Shinobi
Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: INT
Hit Dice: 1d4
Maximum Level: 14
Armour: None
Weapons: Any
Languages: Alignment, Common

Shinobi are adventurers who combine the stealth of a thief with the arcane spell-casting of a magic-user. Shinobi are able to cast a greater number of increasingly powerful spells as they advance in level.

Arcane Magic
See Rules of Magic for full details on arcane magic.

Spell casting: Shinobi carry spell books containing the mantras and hand seals for arcane spells. The level progression table (below) shows both the number of spells in the shinobi’s spell book and the number they may memorize, determined by the character’s experience level. A 2nd-level shinobi gains one spell in their spell book, selected by the referee (who may allow the player to choose). The list of spells available to shinobi is provided in Shinobi Spells.

Combat
Shinobi are unable to use shields or wear any kind of armour.They can use any weapon.

Scroll Use
A shinobi of 10th level or higher can cast arcane spells from scrolls. There is a 10% chance of error: the spell does not function as expected and creates an unusual or deleterious effect.

Shinobi Skills: Shinobi can use the following skills with the chance of success below. These skills are otherwise identical to the skills of a thief, and follow the same rules of Rolling Skill Checks and Player Knowledge.

After Reaching 11th Level
A shinobi can attract 2d6 apprentices of 1st level. These shinobi will serve the character with some reliability; however, should any be arrested or killed, the PC will not be able to attract apprentices to replace them. A successful shinobi might use these followers to start a shinobi clan.

Climb SurfacesTrap RemovalHear NoiseHide in ShadowsMove SilentlyOpen Lock
75%10%1-210%20%15%
Table: Shinobi Skills Chance of Success
LevelXPHDTHAC0DWPBS123456
101d419 [0]1314131615
22,5002d419 [0]13141316151
35,0003d419 [0]13141316152
410,0004d419 [0]131413161521
520,0005d419 [0]131413161522
640,0006d417 [+2]1112111412221
780,0007d417 [+2]1112111412222
8150,0008d417 [+2]11121114123221
9300,0009d417 [+2]11121114123322
10450,0009d4+1*17 [+2]111211141233221
11600,0009d4+2*14 [+5]89811833322
12750,0009d4+3*14 [+5]898118433321
13900,0009d4+4*14 [+5]898118443332
141,050,0009d4+5*14 [+5]898118444332
Table: Shinobi Level Progression

Shinobi Spells
Level 1

  1. Bodyswitching
  2. Disguise
  3. Illusory Teleprojection
  4. Jump
  5. Shadow Cloak
  6. Unbinding

Level 2

  1. Blinkspeed
  2. Butterfly Kick
  3. Cause Fear
  4. Fog Cloud
  5. Grasshopper Kick
  6. Hold Person
  7. Mirror Image
  8. Paper Weapons

Level 3

  1. Animal Summoning
  2. Animate Puppet
  3. Aqueous Teleprojection
  4. Burrow
  5. Finger Inscriptions
  6. Fire Ball
  7. Flame Orbs
  8. Hallucinatory Chamber
  9. Whirlwind Kick

Animal Summoning
3rd Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: 1 round per level
The caster conjures an animal to an exact location within range to fight nearby foes or perform other tasks. The caster must have created a contract with a specific individual of this type of animal, and must smear some of their blood on the hand that signed the contract when casting the spell. The conjured animal can have up to 1 Hit Die per two level of the caster.

Animate Puppet
傀儡の術­ (kugutsu no jutsu)
3rd Level Magic-User and Shinobi Spell
Duration: Concentration
Range: 30′
The caster animates and mentally controls an inanimate object, which can attack or perform other tasks at the caster’s direction. The object cannot bend or flex except as a normal object of its type, so most are constructed with articulated joints and limbs, but something as simple as a cart can be animated. The animated object has one Hit Die per two levels of the caster, an armor class of 4 or 8 depending on material, and generally deals 1d6 points of damage on a successful attack.

Aqueous Teleprojection
水分身 (mizu bunshin)
3rd Level Magic-User and Shinobi Spell
Duration: Concentration
Range: 30′
The caster conjures water and mist and sacrifices 1 hit point to project a portion of their life force to create an semi-real double. The double appears to have all of the caster’s equipment and abilities, but can only faintly impact the physical world, such as by casting spells, attacking, or leaving footprints. Any impact of the double upon the physical world, such as damage-dealing attacks or spells, is only a quarter the strength of such an effect made by the caster. The double has hit points equal to one-quarter of the caster’s total. The double must remain within 30′ of the caster, but otherwise can act as the caster mentally directs. This spell cannot be cast in an area that entirely lacks water or mist.

Blinkspeed
瞬身の術 (shunshin no jutsu)
2nd Level Magic User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: Instant
Range: The caster
Upon casting this spell, the caster can make one full round of movement in the blink of an eye. The caster can move up to their maximum movement speed instantaneously, but must use their normal modes of movement (walking, running, swimming, climbing, flying). Because this movement is too fast to react effectively, the caster cannot attack or be attacked while moving this way.

Bodyswitching
変わり身 (kawarimi)
1st Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Range: 30′
Duration: Instantaneous
The caster magically switches places with an inanimate object of roughly the same size or mass within range, such as a mannequin or log. The spell can be cast with an instant gesture, quickly enough to save the caster or another creature if they are attacked. The caster must announce this spell before the attacker makes their attack roll. The attack is automatically successful, but only strikes the inanimate object.

Burrow
3rd Level Magic User and Shinobi Spell
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute per caster level
Range: The caster
The caster can dig through earth like a mole, pushing through soil as easily as fine sand, and can hold their breath while burrowing. The caster can travel at a speed of 10′ (30′) while burrowing, but can’t pass through rock or artificial construction.

Butterfly Kick
2nd Level Shinobi Spell
Duration: 1 round
Range: The caster
Performs a spinning kick against an adjacent opponent. If the attack roll hits, the kick deals 3d6 points of damage and the target must make a saving throw versus paralyze. If the saving throw fails, the target falls prone to the ground.

Cause Fear
2nd Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: 2 turns
Range: The caster or a creature touched
Identical to the 1st-level cleric spell of the same name. Will cause a target within 120’ to flee for the duration unless it saves versus spells.

Disguise
変装 (hensō)
1st Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Range: Self
Duration: 1 hour
The caster creates a supernatural disguise for themself, using face paint and a cloak (or other suitable costume). The caster can add a minor detail, look like a specific and known individual of the same species, or even look like a member of a different humanoid species of the same general size. This disguise will pass a glance or cursory inspection, but a creature inspecting the disguise closely may succeed on a save vs. spells to recognize the it as an illusion. If the disguise is of a differnt humanoid species or a specific individual known to the creature, they get a +4 bonus on the saving throw. The caster does not gain the abilities or mannerisms of the chosen appearance, nor does it disguise the feel or sound of their equipment.

Finger Inscriptions
指刻封印­ (shikoku fūin)
3rd-Level Magic-User and Shinobi Spell
Duration: Concentration
Range: 5′
The caster concentrates energy into their finger to permanently inscribe images or written messages onto a surface.

Flame Orbs
炎弾­ (endan)
3rd Level Magic User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: Instant
Range: 240′
Orbs of flame streak out from the caster’s fingers.
Orbs: There is 1 orb per level of the caster. They can shoot to different targets or the same target, as the caster selects.
Saving Throw: Save versus spells to dodge each orb.
Damage: The orbs deal 1d6 points of fire damage each.

Fog Cloud
2nd Level Magic User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: 6 turns
Range: 30’
A dense fog streams from the caster’s fingertips, obscuring vision.
Area: The fog fills a 30’ diameter area.
Movement: The fog moves at 60’ per turn (20’ per round), driven by the wind (or away from the caster, in still conditions).
Sinking: Because the fog is heavier than air, it sinks to the lowest level of the land, even pouring down den or sink-hole openings.
Concealment: Creatures within the fog cannot see more than 5′, and creatures outside the fog cannot see through it.
Wind: Strong winds of natural or magical origin can dissipate the fog before its duration has expired.

Grasshopper Kick
2nd Level Shinobi Spell
Duration: 1 round
Range: 10′ or 30′
The caster leaps into the air, strikes at a target within 30 feet with a kick, and lands next to the target. If the attack hits, the target takes 3d6 points of damage. As part of this kick, the caster may leap straight up 10′, straight down 30′, backwards 10′, or forwards 30′.

Hallucinatory Chamber
3rd Level Magic User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: Until touched
Range: 30′
Hallucinatory chamber either conjures illusory features (e.g. furniture, furnishings, materials) or hides an existing terrain feature within a single natural or constructed chamber.
Area: The illusion must fit completely within the spell’s range.
Touching: If the illusion is touched by an intelligent being, the spell is negated.

Illusory Teleprojection
幻分身 (genbunshin)
1st Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: Concentration
Range: 30′
The caster sacrifices 1 hit point of damage to project a portion of their life force to create an illusory double. The figment appears to have all of the caster’s equipment and abilities, but cannot impact the physical world, such as by casting spells, attacking, kicking up dust, or leaving footprints. The figment must remain within 30′ of the caster, but otherwise can act as the caster mentally directs. Any effect that would cause the illusory double to take damage causes the spell to end. A creature that interacts directly with the illusory double may succeed on a save vs. spells to recognize it as an illusion.

Jump
1st Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: 1 turn
Range: The caster
The caster may leap straight up 10′, straight down 30′, backwards 10′, or forwards 30′. The caster may make one such leap at any point while the spell is active, and an additional time per 3 levels of the caster (two at level 4, three at level 7, &c.).

Paper Weapons
紙手裏剣­ (kami shuriken)
2nd Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: 6 turns
Range: 10′
The caster folds ordinary paper into deadly weapons, either daggers or shuriken. These paper weapons can be used in the same way and to the same effect as an ordinary metal dagger or shuriken. Using this spell, the caster can create a 1d6 weapons, +1 per caster level, from a single piece of paper.

Shadow Cloak
隠れ蓑 (kaguremino)
1st Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: Concentration
Range: 0
The caster enchants a cloak or straw raincoat to provide supernatural camouflage. While concealed beneath this cloak, the caster is invisible, vanishing from sight, as long as they remain still. Items dropped or put down by an invisible creature become visible; items picked up disappear if tucked into the clothing worn by the creature. Of course, the subject is not magically silenced, and certain other conditions can render the recipient detectable. This effect ends if the caster moves position, attacks, casts a spell, or holds a light source.

Unbinding
縄抜け (nawanuke)
1st Level Magic-User & Shinobi Spell
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: 0
The unbinding spell causes one mass of rope restraining the caster to become unknotted and untangled, allowing the caster to easily free themself. The ropes do not re-knot or become tangled again on their own until after the caster is free of them. This spell affects natural ropes, cloth, vines, and spider webs, but not chains, manacles, tentacles, or magical bindings.

Whirlwind Kick
大旋風­ (daisenpū)
3rd Level Shinobi Spell
Duration: 1 round
Range: The caster
The caster spins and delivers a series of four whirling kicks to an adjacent foe or foes. The caster must succeed at an attack roll for each kick, which deal 2d6 points of damage. Creatures damaged by a kick must succeed at a saving throw versus paralyze or fall to the ground prone.

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